CASE STUDY: STAPLES PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS
Transforming Manual Processes To Create A More Refined Customer Experience
Staples Promotional Products (a division of Staples, Inc.) facilitates the customization and distribution of tens of thousands of products sold across multiple e-commerce platforms and customer segments. To serve their clients, Staples Promotional Products' systems must communicate custom product specifications between vendors and clients to accurately quote information for a large, diverse, and fluctuating catalog of products.
This case study delves into the impactful collaboration between Integrity Inspired Solutions and Staples Promotional Products to strategically modernize Staples Promotional Products’ systems, streamline internal processes, and elevate Staples’ promotional product customer experience.
Staples Promotional Products (SPP) services countless clients, all of whom require a customized product catalog of information often supplied by third-party vendors. The exchange of information between these parties had been operated by difficult-to-manage monolithic applications that didn’t communicate well with one another and often required manpower to track down issues caused by outdated cost data.
This challenge was especially highlighted amid fluctuating vendor pricing due to disruption in the supply chain caused by the global pandemic. Given SPP's extensive range of products across various e-commerce platforms and customer segments, keeping pace with rapid changes became increasingly challenging.
SPP needed a way to allow for highly flexible, client-specific UIs as well as client-specific product offerings and pricing rules. Additionally, the many points of client-specific customization ultimately had to filter down to common rules that all other Staples apps could use.
Integrity closely collaborated with SPP’s IT department to conceive and implement new workflows that automate adjustments across all systems affected by product pricing fluctuations. Several specialized services were developed, such as handling cost calculations for purchase order generation, managing specific customer pricing rules, and crafting a rapid price calculator.
This innovative approach empowered Staples to synchronize cost and pricing rules within well-defined services, eliminating the need to maintain cost and pricing rules across many disparate applications.
Throughout the process of building the solution, Integrity provided SPP with frequent demos and reviews of the developer team metrics. These reviews not only demonstrated the progress made by Integrity consultant teams, but they also allowed for frequent stakeholder feedback that shaped the end product as well as empowered stakeholders with critical information for the planning and budgeting of the project.
The return on investment has been substantial. SPP’s IT responsiveness to alterations in business rules for negotiating contract pricing with vendors and customers has markedly improved. Plus, the reliance on SPP staff for onboarding new customers or modifying existing product lines has been significantly reduced.
The transition has translated into a remarkable reduction in time frames, shifting from weeks and months to mere hours and days. And the access to these real-time figures provided by this solution enables both SPP and their customers to make more well-informed business decisions. Here are a few examples of those benefits have translated into tangible improvements for SPP’s systems:
Streamlined Customer Onboarding Process
When SPP builds out a customer portal for either a new customer or a renewal, customers can now see real-time prices for products rather than estimates. This transparency has streamlined the portal setup process and reduced the number of changes customers request because product prices are reflected accurately.
Accurate Price Margins
SPP can now accurately project their price margins and adjust product prices as needed rather than relying on fluctuating estimates and previously communicated prices quoted to clients.
Increased Transparency for Customer Oversight
Customers are now able to see product price changes in real-time and decide if they still want to have that product offered in their custom portal.
Decreased Time Spent Identifying Cost Issues
SPP’s access to accurate, real-time cost information now leads to a higher acceptance rate of purchase orders by vendors and less time chasing down costing issues that could impact accounting, vendor, and client relationships.
An Ongoing Engagement With Widespread Impact
With modernization and migration to the cloud being a key focus for Staples Promotional Products in recent years, Integrity has become a long-term strategic partner for the IT goals of the organization.
Integrity’s teams continue to collaborate closely with Staples Product Owners, Business Analysts, Business Users, and Management to deliver key strategic initiatives (like the project outlined in this case study) to the long-term plans of the organization.
Integrity also provides strategic direction to other teams, provides architectural guidance to the systems that are designed across the enterprise, and continues to influence the Agile culture that exists internally.
The collaborative effort between Integrity and Staples Promotional Products has yielded a transformative impact. Confronted with the complex landscape of managing an expansive and fluctuating product portfolio amid pandemic-induced disruptions, the strategic alliance between SPP and Integrity proved instrumental.
The outcome of this collaboration was the establishment of a harmonized system that seamlessly integrates pricing and customization rules. This accomplishment translated to heightened responsiveness, expeditious customer onboarding, and precision in pricing strategies.
Notably, this partnership remains an ongoing endeavor, with Integrity continuing to guide significant initiatives and contribute architectural expertise. The case study illuminates how strategic collaboration and technical innovation centered around user experience can transform manual processes into efficient workflows beneficial to all who use them.